In the Streets With the New Poor People’s Campaign Against Racism and Poverty

AMY GOODMAN: On Monday in Washington, D.C., nine religious leaders were arrested on the steps of the Supreme Court. They were handcuffed for five hours, had their religious vestments ripped off them, then jailed overnight in cells with cockroaches. They were then brought into court in ankle irons.

The religious leaders were among a hundred people arrested in Washington, D.C., as part of a national day of action for the new Poor People’s Campaign protesting poverty and racism. Over the past five weeks, nearly 2,000 people have been arrested in what organizers describe as the most expensive wave of nonviolent direct action this century. The Reverends William Barber and Liz Theoharis are leading the protests, 50 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. launched the first Poor People’s Campaign.

Monday’s protest came just hours after the Supreme Court dealt a major setback to voting rights by upholding Ohio’s controversial voter purge law. Democracy Now!was on the streets of Washington, D.C., covering the action.

PROTESTERS: Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call of Moral Revival!

REV. LIZ THEOHARIS: Historians are telling us that, five weeks in, we already have the largest wave of nonviolent civil disobedience in the 21st century. Already. And we’re just starting. This is just the launch. This is just the beginning.

PROTESTER: That’s right. That’s right.

REV. LIZ THEOHARIS: And we have, today, with us here, others that will be joining us in zone 10, when we start to rally, and across the country. We have all kinds of folks. We have workers that have been locked out of where they’re supposed to work, because they’re standing up for higher wages.

PROTESTER: That’s right.

REV. LIZ THEOHARIS: We have homeless folks whose encampments have been destroyed, but who are coming to stand up for justice. We have people who have died, that we’re standing up for still today, because they could never access affordable housing. When this country…

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